This story takes place immediately after the story Weaving the Webs of Deception, Part 1 in the same universe, and follows certain events in the time span from January 7, 1944 to June 6, 1944. This is the third story in what I call the Operation Deflection series, the previous two being Two Missions for the Price of One and Weaving the Webs of Deception, Part 1.
The flow of this story may seem a bit disjointed when reading one scene to the next. There are several threads being followed by this story, and these threads are not always interrelated. However, the threads all play a part in the weaving of the webs of deception, which I hope you will see by the end of the series.
I would like to extend many huge thanks to Patti and Marg. It's a long story, but they graciously donated the basis for several of the characters and events that are present in this story. And so I give them credit for the birth of some of the plot bunnies contained herein, but I accept all blame for what I might have done to them!
I have opted to go without beta reading this time. All mistakes are mine, and mine alone!
The opening of this story takes place soon after the close of the story Weaving the Webs of Deception, Part 1 and immediately after the events in the episode My Favorite Prisoner.
As usual, I make no claims to any characters or events from the Hogan's Heroes Universe, or to any actual dialog or plot details from any episode referenced.
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Hammelburg, Gestapo Headquarters
January 7, 1944, 2330 hours
Captain Dorfmann coughed as he hung up the phone. He had just talked with Major Hochstetter again, who was still questioning the Countess as to what she knew about the Allied intelligence agent they had captured that evening. The fact that they no longer had the agent in custody was a different story – and it was that story which had caused Dorfmann to cough. Several men from the Underground had been able to rescue the agent from Gestapo Headquarters.
Dorfmann had been on duty when they came in. Two of the men were dressed in Gestapo uniforms as SS-Oberscharführer and one looked like a French resistance fighter. They had been able to catch him off guard and force him at gunpoint to release the agent. Afterwards, they had locked him in the empty cell and set off smoke canisters to elude the other guards in the Headquarters building. It had taken his men several minutes to be able to free him from the cell, and the smoke in the cell had started getting thick.
When his men released him, he had ordered them to search the area. They hadn't found anything. While they were searching for the men, he had looked around his office. The Underground men had searched for the plans that the agent had brought – the open drawers and papers tossed on the floor were evidence of that. Dorfmann knew that they didn't find them because Hochstetter still had the plans with him. But the fact that they searched for them indicated to Dorfmann that they were something important. Hochstetter had agreed, and while the Major wanted to find that agent and the men that rescued him, he was more than satisfied to have the plans to pass on to Berlin.
But as Dorfmann pondered the events of the evening, he had a curious thought. How did the Underground know that the agent had been captured and was at Gestapo Headquarters?
Captain Reginald Sears was sitting in the large room of the tunnel beneath Stalag 13. The noise of the ladder leading to the barracks above startled him as it began to extend to the tunnel floor. He chuckled in amusement as he watched Colonel Hogan climb down the ladder and reach back to retrieve two mugs that were handed down to him from above.
"Thanks, Kinch," Hogan said to the man above. "Close it up for now. I'll be back up in a while."
Captain Sears was still chuckling when Hogan turned towards him. "Room service, Colonel?" he asked with a smile.
Hogan smiled back. "We aim to please," he replied. "All the comforts of home!" Hogan made a gesture of looking around the tunnel. "That is, if you're a mole."
Sears laughed heartily. "A well equipped mole at that," he replied, motioning towards to communication station.
Hogan smiled and took a sip of his coffee.
"That was a bloody good show your men put on with the Gestapo tonight," Sears continued. "Do you do that sort of thing often?"
Hogan chuckled. "A little too often," he replied. "But the men are good at it."
"It showed," Sears commented. "They had no troubles. And it was Sergeant Carter's idea that we make it look like we searched for the plans before leaving. A nice touch."
Now it was Hogan's turn to chuckle. "Carter does have some good ideas now and then," he replied. "And then there are the other times …"
Sears smiled as he took a sip from his cup. "You've got a good team here, Colonel," he said. "I was told before I left that you'd be able to get me out of any trouble after passing off the plans. I have to admit – I had my doubts. I'd expected to be captured and interrogated."
"We do what we can," Hogan said trying to dismiss the obvious compliment. "The important thing is that you were able to pass the plans to the Germans."
"Yes, but that bloke that came for the them was terrible!" Sears said laughing. "The snow flies south except for the birds." He said, mocking Schultz.
"That's Schultz, the Sergeant of the Guards here at camp," Hogan replied. "He's one of the best Sergeants we have fighting for our side!" Both men laughed.
"Do you think the Gestapo will pass the plans on to Berlin?" Sears asked. "It's important that their intelligence service gets their hands on them."
Hogan shrugged. "We've done the best we could," he replied. "If Hochstetter thinks he can gain some points with the brass in Berlin, he'll pass them along."
"Yes, it was a spot of good luck that you'd been visiting that baroness for a little bit of, uh, you know," Sears said with a grin on his face.
Hogan laughed. "Yes, we all like a little bit of you know every so often after being stuck in this camp," he responded lightly. "At first I was annoyed when Klink hatched his eavesdropping plan at the New Year's party. But I suppose I should thank him for it now. I couldn't have planned it better myself!"
Sears laughed. "That was a bit of luck," he replied. "So now we have to hope that German intelligence gets a look at those plans."
"And that they'll believe they're genuine," Hogan commented.
Sears seemed to glance around the small tunnel room before speaking. "Confidentially Colonel, London hopes they believe they're fake," he said quietly.
Hogan gave him a confused look. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"What I tell you stays in this room," Sears said gravely.
Hogan nodded, sensing the importance of what he was about to be told. "I understand," he replied.
"Those plans are fakes to make the Germans believe the rest of the phony information they're being given from many other sources," Sears continued.
Hogan said nothing, but his eyes widened over his coffee cup.
Sears nodded. "Everyone knows that the Allies must attempt an invasion of the continent," he said simply. "The Germans know it, and we know they know it. What they don't know is when and where."
"But how can something as large as an invasion of the continent be kept secret?" Hogan asked.
Sears smiled at him and said nothing for a moment. "I am assuming that your question was rhetorical," he said.
Hogan chuckled. "Of course," he replied. "So what can you tell me?"
"Only what General Walters authorized me to tell you," Sears replied.
"General Tillman Walters?" Hogan asked.
Sears nodded, smiling. "The very same," he replied. "He told me about the time he came here to plant the radar device inside the camp."
Hogan chuckled. "I suppose he told you that we branded him a firebug and had him transferred out of the camp," he responded.
Sears laughed. "Yes, he told me that too," he replied. "In the end, he was happy that you did that. It made his escape from Germany a lot easier – for both of you."
"So what did General Walters want me to know?" Hogan asked, itching to get back to news about the planned invasion.
"Simply that the invasion is being planned and there's a large amount of misinformation being given to the Germans on all fronts to throw them off base," Sears replied.
Hogan nodded. "That's understandable, you always want to confuse the enemy," he observed.
Captain Sears shook his finger at Hogan. "No, Colonel," he responded. "This is bigger than just confusion. Our goal is to completely fool them into thinking that we're going to be doing something totally different. We know they're suspicious of the information they're getting – they suspect us to try to misinform them." He paused to let Hogan digest the information.
Hogan simply nodded.
"And so these plans are part of the ruse," Sears continued. "If they believe the plans are genuine, it will work for us – they won't give away the overall deception. However, those plans have been crafted to make the Germans suspect that the information is leading them away from the main invasion points. Then they'll believe all of the other information we've been giving them."
Hogan shook his head in amazement. "That's incredible!" he exclaimed. "It sounds like there are a lot of people working on this."
Sears nodded. "It's a large group," he confirmed. "All the information passed along is scripted. The Germans are getting what we want them to and no more."
"What about German spies?" Hogan asked.
Sears nodded as he took a sip of coffee. "We've been able to turn most of the spies that we've found, and they're now working with us," he answered. "Those that didn't turn are no longer free to operate." Sears made a slashing motion across his throat.
"I see," Hogan said, thinking of what would happen if Hochstetter ever found out about the Stalag 13 operation. "Anything else to tell me?"
"You may expect to be asked to help on certain things as the countdown time nears, though you may not always know you are helping in the invasion plans" Sears responded. "And you may even be asked to make a trip to London to meet with the big brass."
"London knows our phone number," Hogan quipped lightly. "If they want to spring for the round trip ticket, I'll be there."
Sears laughed. "That they do," he replied. "And though you may not think so sometimes, they will spring for just about anything you say you need."
Hogan smiled as he stood and clapped the Captain on the back. "Get some rest, Captain," he said. "We'll get you out of there as soon as the heat dies down. One of the men – either Baker or Kinch – will be down here monitoring the airwaves tonight to keep you company."
"Right, Colonel," Sears replied as Hogan headed for the ladder to the barracks.